FABI ended the year on a high with a hybrid Year End Function on 19 November. This event has always been a highlight on the FABI social calendar and this year a limited number of invited guests were again able to celebrate the end of a difficult but successful year.

FABI Director Prof. Bernard Slippers said that 2021 was a tough year but he has hope and was inspired by what the Institute achieved during 2021 under very difficult circumstances. He quoted Noam Chomsky who said “If you assume there is no hope then there is no hope”. He said that he was “excited for the new year and will “go into it with purpose”.

The guest speaker for this year was Dr Brian Chicksen, Adviser to the Executive: Special Projects at the University of Pretoria. He spoke of ‘reimagining to reinvent’. After studying to become a medical Doctor he had a successful career in the corporate sector for an international gold mining company. He spoke of how he reinvented himself and the lessons he learnt from this journey, describing it as “exciting” and saying that one must embrace it and work with people to succeed. He the lessons he learnt are that one must always treat people with respect and dignity; you must understand yourself in order to succeed and you need to continue to reinvent yourself to become resilient.

The year end function also recognises FABIans and friends of FABI for their hard work, achievements and support through the year. The coveted FABIan of the Year Award went to PhD candidate Nam Pham who joined online from Indonesia where he is currently engaged in fieldwork. Nam was also awarded the Best Artwork Award for his paper Baobab tree. The FABI Award Recognising Contributions by a Person External to the Institute was awarded to Rina & Roedolf Nieuwenhuis of CropWatch Africa while the FABI Award Recognising Contributions by a Member of Staff of the University of Pretoria was presented to Ms. Emily Mokhele, Student administrator in the NAS faculty office.

The event was planned and executed by the hardworking FABI Social Club under the leadership of Leandri Klynsmith and Dr Gerda Fourie. Prof. Slippers thanked them for their tireless work to make the evening and all the other FABI social events over the past year such a success.

FABI Award winners:

FABIan of the Year: Nam Pham.

FABI Award Recognising Contributions by a Member of Staff of the University of Pretoria: Ms. Emily Mokhele (UP NAS Student Administrator).

FABI Award Recognising Contributions by a Person External to the Institute: Rina & Roedolf Nieuwenhuis (CropWatch Africa)

FABI Artwork Award: Nam Pham

FABI Photo of the Year: Shawn Fell, Dr Trudy Paap

FABI Award “Getting the Message to the Public”: Matthew Jackson, Christoff Joubert.

FABI Research Fellow Award: Dr Trudy Paap

FABI Postdoc Award: Dr Quentin Guignard, Dr Raphael Ployet.

FABI Student Award for Mentorship: Claudette Dewing, Trystan Nadasen, Elisa Pal.

Best Postdoc Publication: Dr Neriman Yilmaz, Dr Andi Wilson

Best Student Publication: Jane Chepsergon

Cum Laude MSc Achievers:  Lomile Khoete, Ashleigh Smith, Shannon Wilson.